Tour Boat Carrying 27 People Sinks Off British Columbia Coast; at Least five Dead.
The 20-metre Leviathan II, operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station, made a mayday call late on Sunday afternoon.
Lieutenant Commander Desmond James, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, staffed by Canadian military and coastguard members, said the agency’s search concluded with five dead, 21 rescued, and one person missing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will take over the search for the missing person.
The boat was partially submerged eight nautical miles west of Tofino.
Joe Martin, a member of the Tal-o-qui-aht First Nation, was near the dock when rescue boats began returning to Tofino.
He said two people were brought in on a Zodiac boat and workers tried in vain to resuscitate them.
His brother and nephew were halibut fishing when they saw the overturned boat and tried to help. Instead, the men pulled in three bodies, Mr Martin said.
The ship was on the far side of Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound, an area that Mr Martin said could get very rough. But the weather was fine on Sunday.
‘It wasn’t even blowing hard,’ he said. ‘This is the largest boat in Tofino and I was really surprised that it went down.’
Tofino fishing guide Lance Desilets arrived after being told rescue boats were needed. At least 12 boats were already out and more were going in as he returned.
‘I saw a lot of personal belongings, a long diesel slick and the top 10 feet of the Leviathan II sticking out of the water,’ he said. ‘It’s a sad day for our community.’